Police departments in the US are snubbing the Australian-made Chevrolet Caprice and other new law enforcement vehicles in favour of the prehistoric Ford Crown Victoria.
Between January and July 2011, sales of the Crown Victoria were up 64 per cent compared with the same period in 2010 as police forces stocked up on the ageing but widely respected cop car.
A total of 35,203 have been sold to law enforcement agencies so far this year, ensuring the Crown Vic will be among the most popular police vehicles for 2011. US law enforcement agencies generally purchase between 65,000 and 70,000 new vehicles each year.
The Crown Victoria was introduced as a police vehicle in 1983 and has been the top-selling model among departments for the past 15 years.
The Crown Vic and its sister car, the Lincoln Town Car, are built on Ford’s Panther platform – the basic elements of which can be traced back 32 years to 1979. Production of the Crown Victoria and Town Car will cease before the end of this year.
Ford is replacing it with the new Ford Taurus Police Interceptor and the Ford Explorer Police Interceptor, which promise to take a massive leap forward in terms of efficiency, power, handling, safety and durability.
But a number of police departments are sceptical of the new offerings, and as a result are loading up on the last Crown Victorias to roll off the line.
North Charleston, South Carolina police chief, John Zumalt, told the Detroit Free Press he did not understand why Ford would end production of the Crown Vic.
“The Crown Vic is the best vehicle for line police officers in the United States,” Mr Zumalt said.
“The Taurus isn’t going to work for us. It’s too small. We’re looking at the Caprice from Chevrolet and the Dodge Charger”
The North Charleston police department ordered 40 new Crown Victoria vehicles earlier this year.
In June, CarAdvice reported the first 23 Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicles were delivered to police departments, marking a modest start to the export program.
Unfortunately, Holden will not comment on order volume or the number of vehicles currently on boats from Elizabeth to the US, although a Holden spokesperson said they expected the numbers to gradually increase over time.